Gephyreaster swifti (Fisher, 1905)
5 well-defined arms with a broad, often swollen disc. Aboral surface smooth with tightly packed plates covered with granules; marginal plates conspicuous and rounded. Pink-orange or pink. To 42 cm (16.5 in) across.
Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to Washington State; 4 to 344 m (13 to 1,128 ft).
This GUNPOWDER STAR has a swollen appearance, possibly due to successful feeding.
Close-up view of the aboral surface shows the crowded surface plates covered with dozens of tiny blunt spines.
A specimen from Gordon Rocks, in Queen Charlotte Strait, BC.
Another from Queen Charlotte Strait, BC.
This GUNPOWDER STAR is feeding on a large cluster of FRINGED FILAMENT-WORMS (Dodecaceria fewkesi).
5 - 5
This star smells strongly like exploded gunpowder. I've never seen this species south of Knight Inlet, a long fjord on the central BC coast. It is reasonably common in Queen Charlotte Strait, especially at the Masterman and Gordon Islands near Port Hardy where it often eats PLUMOSE ANEMONES. It has also been found humped up over clusters of FRINGED FILAMENT-WORMS. It is apparently not found in the Strait of Georgia but has been reported from Puget Sound.